Christmas is coming, and it's time for regional theatres across the country to start up their umpteenth production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. After 25 years, San Diego Repertory Theatre is tired of the same old Victorian England thing - they've decided to place their Carol under the circus big top.
In this "circus fantasy spectacular," opening Dec. 1, Ebenezer Scrooge becomes the tyrannical ringmaster of the Scrooge & Marley Circus who wants his performers to do three shows on Christmas Day. The 19th Century circus performers, including stilt-walkers, trapeze-artists, sword-swallowers and clowns, are disheartened, but three special spirits are about to transform Scrooge's plans and his life.
Mike Genovese stars as Scrooge. His recent credits include the Rep's The Illusion, Death of a Salesman and Uncle Vanya. Matt Walker, who plays both Fred and Marley's Ghost, won a 1999 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for 12th Dog Night.
Among the specialty circus performers, which features members of San Diego's Fern Street Circus and Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey's Circus, is the U.S.'s tallest sword-swallower, George "The Giant" McCarthur, who stands 7' 3''.
Joan Schirle directs. An actress, director and musician, Schirle most recently helmed the Rep's Picasso at Lapin Agile. Avenue X's Ray Leslee composed the score. Designing the show are Trevor Norton (lighting), Giulio Cesare Perrone (costumes and sets) and Todd Reishman (sound).
Performances of A Christmas Carol began Nov. 24 for a run through Dec. 24. Tickets are $22-$14. The Lyceum Theatre is located in Horton Plaza. For reservations, call (619) 544-1000. San Diego Repertory Theatre is on the web at http://www.sandiegorep.com.
— By Christine Ehren